For some odd reason, I woke up thinking about what Bank of America did to me fifteen years ago when I lived in Florida the first time. I opened the standard checking and savings accounts, and found out in short order if I didn’t deposit at least $5 in the savings account every month by a certain date, they’d whack me a $3 fee.
A couple weeks after arriving, 9/11 happened and the entire country shut down. Planes didn’t fly, people were afraid to drive, and no one was hiring, which meant I wasn’t making money and there was nothing to put in savings.
Right on schedule, BoA whacked me $3 for not making a deposit that first month. I was pissed. Who the hell did they think they were? This was one of the most transparent “money grabs” I’d ever seen, and guess what? ALL the damn banks in Clearwater were doing it, so changing to another one made no sense.
My unemployment stretched on as Bush & Company built their Legacy of Fear, and I started freaking out, then realized being homeless in Florida had to be better than winter in MN, because hey, blizzards and temps so cold, you freeze walking to your car (it was like that “back then,” and the fact it’s mostly not like that now, only fifteen years later, should terrify you). I used to think, “If I ever decide to kill myself, I’ll just stroll on out to the woods, sit under a tree in January, and go to sleep. Easy peasy.” If you sit under a tree in Florida, one of many things might happen (being bitten by a poisonous snake, eaten by an alligator who sneaks up on you, gored by a wild bore, or attacked by a mosquito bearing some horrible disease), but you won’t freeze to death. Homeless had to be better here.
I didn’t make a deposit the second month either, but I managed to put $5 in the account the third month before screwing up again in the fourth, missing the day of deposit by one.
I’d had it. I’d keep the money under the mattress rather than keep giving it to the leeches at BoA! At the rate they were going, they’d soon have my entire savings account, the fuckers.
The day after another ludicrous $3 fee was assessed, I marched down to the local branch and asked to see the manager. I started out calmly enough, but at the end, after hearing his condescending and self-satisfied bullshit about why the fee was charged, I let him have it.
“I’m closing my accounts. I already have two parents, and I sure as hell don’t need another one telling me what to do with my money. If I don’t want to put anything in savings one month, that should be my choice, not yours.” I didn’t throw any “fucks” in there, but I wanted to, and I’m pretty sure he heard them anyway.
Fast forward to my return to Wisconsin: I didn’t even consider using a bank. I went straight to a credit union and haven’t looked back since. In the banking world, they are the fairies of goodness. They never charge me a fee for anything. In fact, I still use my CU up north; I can do everything necessary online, and if a time comes when I need to do something complex, well, there is a credit union network. Stop in at the local CU and chances are, they can help you, and they won’t charge you either.
A friend of mine in California is turning into a really good artist. Today, FedEx dropped off a painting she did of Suki. I’m adding it to my “pet wall” so I can look at it first thing in the morning and last thing in the evening. It’s gorgeous! She really captured my baby, didn’t she?